Tawanda Joshua Vombo, the rising literary phenom

Tawanda Joshua Vombo, the rising literary phenom

He sits. His mask on. His hat on, trying to be as unrecognizable as possible. He waits for the event to start then someone approaches him.

“Kudzai?” “Yes, that’s me.” Replies the man trying to hide his identity, “You recognized me?”

“Yes,” replies the man, “I even recognized you when you passed by yesterday.”

This masking technique is not working it’s time to think of other ways to remain anonymous!

The man in question Tawanda Josh Vombo a scriptwriter, poet and novelist based in Harare Zimbabwe. This was my first face to face encounter with Josh despite a long time speaking online.

One thing that struck me was Josh’s ability to observe from a distance; observations are fuel for the creative and give them the power to create. That day Vombo was about to showcase his TV script that he had worked on as part of a select few filmmakers selected by Danai Gurira’s Almasi Collaborative Arts to develop their television pilots with the guidance of Matt Negrete (a writer who has worked on ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘World Beyond’) I teased him if his work was historical fiction, and he gave me a laugh (it was historical fiction!) His work was an explosive historical story of the Monomotapa dynasty that once ruled over Zimbabwe.

Book-642x1024 Tawanda Joshua Vombo, the rising literary phenom

Vombo’s writing journey began at the age of ten when he began to use imagination to cope with loneliness that he faced as a child. While only in his teens he set out to be the youngest person to win a NAMA award for his writing.

‘Mwanasikana’ a poetry EP launched in late 2023 showcased Vombo’s gift in crafting poetry. His goes by the stage name Mr. Elect for his poetry performances. He mentioned how ‘elect’ referrers to Christians being called the Elected. The EP includes pieces entitled ‘Parufu Pangu’, ‘Ndizvohere Mwanasikana’, ‘Kudhara ikoko’, ‘Bota’ and ‘Handizi Right’. The poems are in ChiShona and include a few phrases in English and range in topic from painful love, advice to younger generation and anger. The poetry is comical and includes a lot of word play.

He published his first novel ‘Monomotapa’ back in 2022 and it was nominated for the National Arts Merit Awards for ‘Best First Creative Work’ in 2023. That same year he was also nominated for ‘Best Fiction’ for his contribution to the short story anthology ‘Intwasa Short Stories Volume 2’. Vombo was also shortlisted for the 2021 Intwasa Short Story Prize.

Vombo founded ‘Mazwi Empire’ to amplify the voices of young and upcoming writers. Under his ‘Mazwi Empire’ banner he brings writers together to network and learn creative writing essentials in the form of seminars. He is also it’s director. Vombo posts videos of his work on YouTube (joshvombo – YouTube). His talent shines brightly and is evidence of a creative set to set the world ablaze.

Kudzai Mhangwa

Kudzai Mhangwa is a writer, actor and musician. He writes poetry, plays, essays and short stories. His work has been featured on House of Mutapa, Atrebla Magazine, Ka'edi Africa, Poetry Soup and elsewhere.

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